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Elder Abuse and Neglect: Understand the Signs

Signs of Elder Abuse
Carol Trehearn
Written by Carol Trehearn

Keep an eye out for these signs of elder abuse and neglect to ensure that your loved one has the quality of life that they deserve.

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Abuse of the elderly in places where they should be safe and well cared for, such as in nursing homes and even in a patient’s own home, is more common than it should be. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a loved one who can no longer take care of themselves because of old age, continue reading for a list of signs that should alert you to elder abuse and neglect.

Once you notice the following signs of abuse, take action right away by contacting elder law attorneys like Garcia Law to get justice and to get your elderly loved one into a safe environment.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Elder abuse comes in a variety of forms, but one of the most common is physical abuse. If you notice any unexplained indications of injury, such as scars, welts, or bruises, your loved one may be in a dangerous situation. This is especially true if the injuries appear symmetrically on both sides of the body.

Other symptoms of physical abuse include dislocated bones, sprains, and broken bones, a failure to take medicine regularly or a report of overdose, broken eyeglasses, any signs that the person has been restrained, and a caregiver’s refusal to let you be with your loved one alone.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

In addition to physical abuse, the elderly can also suffer from emotional abuse. Sometimes you can see emotional abuse occurring right in front of you, particularly if you notice the caregiver belittling, controlling, or threatening your loved one in any way.

At other times, however, the signs can be more subtle, especially if your loved one is unable to communicate effectively. You might notice, for example, that your loved one starts to exhibit behavior that would mimic dementia, such as mumbling to themselves, sucking, or rocking. The person may also be depressed, withdraw or isolate themselves from others, feel anxious, angry, agitated, or fearful, or be unresponsive, resigned, or confused.

Signs of Neglect

Rather than just looking for signs of abuse, you should also keep an eye out for signs of neglect. If your loved one is losing weight unexplainably, or if there are signs of dehydration or malnutrition, it could be that their caregiver is not taking good care of them.

Other symptoms of neglect include untreated physical ailments, such as bed sores, as well as unsanitary living conditions that include soiled clothes and bedding, dirt, and pests. Also, signs of being left unbathed or dirty could indicate neglect. An elderly person who hasn’t been clothed suitably for the weather, or someone who is living in conditions that are unsafe, where there is faulty wiring, fire hazards, no running water, or a lack of heat, would also be considered neglected.

Keep an eye out for these signs of elder abuse and neglect to ensure that your loved one has the quality of life that they deserve. Again, in the event that you notice this type of abuse, you can contact the right attorneys to get justice.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I’ve accepted that I am where I am and it’s okay. 

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

 I have found that when I appreciate everything I’m in a good space.  I need to be mindful of my tolerance of others.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

I’m proud of living my dream of an alternative lifestyle on a small holding surrounded by animals.  My dream is to make enough time to write and paint more.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I love peace and quiet and that’s not so easy to achieve in a world filled with people.  Read between the lines – noise gets me down.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my space, independence, family, friends and animals

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About the author

Carol Trehearn

Carol Trehearn

Carol has a love for freelance writing.